60 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR BOREDOM : How to Survive a Lock-Down, Lock-Up or Lock-Away

We are in lockdown in many countries of the world – and others will be joining us soon.

Whether for pandemics, civil unrest – or even the weather (snow storms!), we all can find ourselves in situations in which we are confined to the ol’ abode.

But, ay! How to survive the boredom!


How can you fend off depression while having to stay confined at home? Some advice I have read states to follow your daily routines. Get up at the same time as usual (okay, you can sleep in a bit … and go to bed a bit earlier to make sure you rest more than usual … if you’re like most folk who can manage to squeeze in only six hours on our hectic schedules!). If you are working or schooling from home, do it at the usual time. Have meals at the usual time.

Yes, get dressed each day (but, hey – you’re at home! You can dress at wildly as you wish!). Bathe and brush your hair each day. Keep things normal as much as possible.

But there is a positive to staying at home. How much time do you spend on commuting to and from work or school? How much time in doing grocery and other shopping? Think of how much more free time – time for yourself and your family – you will have! Once more we can push the craziness of our modern lives and sit down to meals together, watch movies together, create together – support each other. But also remember to allow each of you to have time alone.


Please, in this time, contact your neighbors – especially if they are older or in other at-risk groups – and see if there is any essentials they need, and help them access them. Compile a list of local businesses that are preparing and delivering meals, or of courier services that are delivering groceries. (Some grocery stores are also providing this service.) Also check to see what services are being offered to the homeless in these times, and if you can, donate to them. Shelters and zoos are also in need at this time.

And please support your local businesses – local shops for picking up groceries, the neighborhood bakery. Keep in mind the small mom-and-pop shops for services you may need once the emergency passes (more ideas on this below).


Travel, planning, future, hope

Awaiting the journey. Popayán, Colombia. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Last week, in another corner of cyberspace, I offered you all An Invitation to Virtual Travel, featuring my poetry, travel writings and photo essays through which you may journey to other lands.

An in another region of cyberspace, I wrote about Social Distance | 30 Tips for Travelers, to help us prepare for traveling in the future, when these “unprecedented adventures” which we are experiencing end and we once more may go a-wandering … yes, we CAN dream – and plan – for future trips!


Now – I offer you 60 (and more!) ways to leave your boredom behind during pandemics – or other times when we may be forced to hide away …

Please drop your suggestions in the comments below!



Will it be possible to salvage at least ONE of these old pair of jeans?!? photo © Lorraine Caputo

Around the House

  • With all this down time, take the opportunity to clear your living spaces – both physical and immaterial. This will help “lighten” the space you’re in!
  • Give your living space a deep clean. You’ll be getting your Spring cleaning done early (or, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, getting your abode ready e’er Winter settles in)! Also, it’ll help clear out any dust, spores or other respiratory tract irritants.
  • DYI small home repairs or improvements. Keep a list of the things you can’t do – and once the curfews and home isolations lift, refer them to a handyperson. (They’ll be needing income after this passes!)
  • Catch up on your mending (you know, that pile of jeans that need patching, socks that need darning, etc.). Put aside those that you’ll need to take to the local seamstress / tailor once we can circulate again.
  • Wash your woolens. Now’s the opportunity to give them all a proper handwashing with soft soap.
  • Wash your knapsack, daypack, cloth shopping bags, etc.
  • Clean out your junk drawers.
  • Clean out your closets and drawers and get rid of the clothing, shoes, etc. that you no longer use (or no longer fit). Put them aside for donating to a homeless or women’s shelter or church charity, or for reselling.
  • Give a good cleaning of the ol’ fridge – and defrost the freezer.
  • Clean out the pantry.
  • Organize your files.
  • Clean out your e-mail accounts and Facebook pages.
  • Plant a windowsill garden of herbs – or with seeds from your vegetables and fruits. (This would be a great lesson for kids!) If you have success, you’ll have fresh produce to supplement your meals.



Old-fashioned letters are always a good way to stay in touch – especially to those who do not use (or have access to) internet. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Keeping in Touch

In these times when we may be separated from our friends and loved ones, it’s good to keep in touch. This is especially true for those that are in the at-risk groups (over 60 years of age, with chronic health issues or undergoing cancer treatments). It will assure them how you’re doing, and help them AND you feel less lonely, less isolated.

  • Catch up on e-mail correspondence that has fallen by the wayside. Write letters that will be sent once the post offices open once more.
  • Have chats by ZOOM, Skype, Messenger or other means. Use the telephone to call loved ones (especially if they don’t have a computer or internet).
  • Start a daily blog to inform loved ones and friends of what’s happening in your life. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate – just even a Note on your Facebook page.
  • Share your daily creations – poems, meditations, art work – on social media.
  • Brush up on the language you learned in high school – or learn a new one to prepare for a future trip (when we CAN once more travel). Popular sites are Babbel and Duolingo.


Culinary, foodie

Enjoy a special meal during this time. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Breaking Bread

Spending time at home gives us all the opportunity to leisurely enjoy food preparation and dining – something that, unfortunately, modern times don’t allow us to do. We often eat on the run, or each junk food … and rarely sit down together to break bread and share conversation. Now we can!

  • Prepare meals together – or take turns.
  • Involve the young ones in your household in the preparation and clean-up. They’ll learn useful skills they won’t in school.
  • Make Sunday (or Sabbath) dinner especially special.
  • Eat foods you normally wouldn’t for lunch – like deviled eggs or a mini antipasto.
  • Have an afternoon tea.
  • Prepare the labor-intensive foods you normally don’t have time to make (like lasagna or eggplant parmigiana), or a big pot of spaghetti sauce. Freeze part of it for a future meal.
  • Bake bread to serve hot and fresh with dinner. Experiment with different types of breads and different grains.
  • Check out my Recipe Corner for quick and easy meals to make.
  • Cook with legendary chef Julia Child.
  • The renowned Italian chef Massimo Bottura is offering cooking classes on his Instagram account.
  • Have a different country’s cuisine each night – Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Thai. Check for tutorials online.
  • Bake cookies, brownies or a cake for dessert – or for unwinding in the evening.
  • Set a nice table – complete with flowers, if you have a garden, or dine by candlelight.



Anyone for a movie this evening – or even a 3 o’clock matinee? photo © Lorraine Caputo

Having a Cultural Night Out – At Home

After dinner, why not gather ‘round and share a night of culture – whether watching movies, visiting museums around the world, literary ruins, interviews with renowned actors, opera, concerts and much more. Don’t forget the snacks!

  • Fix up a bowl of popcorn with your favorite toppings and kick back to watch movies. See the classics you haven’t seen in AGES, catch up on the new ones, view foreign flicks to learn about other cultures – and even be a kid again!
  • Watch the award-winning Inside the Actor’s Studio, James Lipton’s interviews with your favorite actors.
  • Or visit virtually 2,500 museums around the world. Here is one list 10 of the world’s top museums online, and another 12 you can stroll around. Google Arts & Culture has access to over 500 museums around the world, as well as tours of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) has FREE online courses on modern and contemporary art.3
  • Pennsound offers a sound library of literary readings.
  • New York’s Metropolitan Opera is livestreaming its performances, and the Paris Opera is broadcasting theirs.
  • Tune in to a few classic concert flicks like the Concert for Bangladesh (with Ravi Shankar, George Harrison, Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and many others; 1972), Live Aid (with not only Queen, but also Elvis Costello, Sade, Sting, Elton John and dozens of other acts, 1985) and Woodstock (Santana, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix … and so, so many other legends, 1969).
  • Musicians are joining in the Together, At Home initiative and giving concerts on Instagram.
  • Here are even more museums – and concerts and operas – you can enjoy from home.
  • If you are a musician, why not offer concerts on Facebook or Instagram? (I have several friends who are doing that.)
  • Poets and other writers can do the same with staging literary readings.


Take a Virtual Excursion

Just because we are stuck inside doesn’t mean we can’t experience the wonders around the world!

  • Take a virtual field trip to the Great Wall of China, the San Diego Zoo, Mars and many other destinations!
  • Visit 31 US national parks.
  • Or what about going on a safari to see penguins, pandas, African wildlife and other critters, with a live webcam?
  • Or perhaps Outer Space?



Some common pantry goods you can use for a home spa. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Taking Care of Yourself – and Self

In these times of stress and uncertainty, it is important to pamper ourselves. There are various ways we can relax and help our immune systems stay strong.

  • With so much time on our hands, take the opportunity to have long, leisurely sessions of yoga. You can search online for videos, classes or consult websites like Yoga Journal. Some yoga postures are helpful when you have a respiratory ailment.
  • Another great way to keep the chi (energy) flowing through your body, to help you fight off infections and build your immune system is to practice tai chi and qi gong. Tai Chi 5 Minutes a Day is a course for beginners. Tai chi master Peter Deadman has a qi gong routine to strengthen the lungs.
  • (My long-time favorite with scads of meditation styles is psychologist Lawrence LeShan’s book How to Meditate.)
  • Keep a journal in which you share your personal feelings and observations of what is going on. This can act as a release valve for your emotions – and serve as a document for yourself (and your family, and future generations) of what you experienced during these trying times …
  • Learn to make homemade facial masks – and give yourself an in-home spa. (Don’t forget cucumber slices or manzanilla/chamomile tea bags over your eyes to soothe them!)
  • Have an avocado that’s going bad? Use it as a deep-conditioning mask for your hair. Smash the avocado up and apply it to your freshly washed hair. Cover your hair with a plastic bag for 15 to 20 minutes, and then rinse your hair well.
  • Take a hot bubble bath – mix in soothing herbs (or herbal oils) like rosemary or lavender.


Night Sea

Night Sea (pen & ink; colored pencil) (published : Sea Stories, Blue Oceans Institute, Autumnal 2006) ©Lorraine Caputo

Passing the Time Creatively

  • Crafts allow you to escape for a while into another space – they are a meditation of sorts. It’ll help to pass the time (especially if you are out of work or alone) – and you’ll have items you can gift at Christmas or sell at fairs.
  • Learn – or if once upon a time you learned, pick up the hobby again – to knit, crochet, quilt, sew or woodworking.
  • You know all those scraps of soap you’ve been collecting? Why not finally turn them into new bars!
  • You can do the same with all the candle stubs that have been collecting.
  • Take a class with that tranquilo painter, Bob Ross!
  • Or download this fascinating, fantastic Color Our Collections, an initiative of the New York Academy of Medicine.
  • You can also print off my drawings to color.
  • Take the time to write – stories, a novel, travelogues, poetry – and to edit the backlog of works you’ve created.
  • Submit your work for publication! Many journals look for poetry, short stories, artwork, photography and other creations. To look for possible venues, check Trish Hopkinson’s website, Poets and Writers, New Pages, and Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity. On Facebook, you’ll find the groups Call for Submissions and No Fee Call for Poems, among others.
  • Take a FREE daily online poetry workshop with Marj Hahne (16 March – 5 April).



A stack of books – and many adventures, many worlds – to enjoy during these times. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Off the Grid

With so many people now working online, schoolkids doing lessons online and people escaping through videos and internet classes, you might find your internet connection getting stressed out. (And not to mention getting stressed out by the constant news – and increased stress means decreased immunity.)

So – disconnect and unwind!

  • Read an old-fashioned book. Catch up on the novels you’ve always meant to read – or browse through travel guidebooks or travelogues (we CAN continue to dream – and plan – for journeying in the future!) Here is a list of 25 sites from which you can download books FREE,
  • Play cards with your housemates – or play solitaire (there are over 150 ways to play!)
  • Play board games like dominoes, checkers, Chinese checkers, chess, jenga, or ladders & snakes.
  • Put together jigsaw puzzles. (Now you have time to do that 1,000-piece one that’s been lurking in the shadows!)
  • Have a home concert with musical instruments (or even a bucket or washboard!). If you’re alone, dust off your forgotten school recorder and relearn the songs you once played as a kid.
  • Have an at-home poetry reading or storytelling session.


And at the end of a long day ….

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